#1: Other Diseases Will Be Ruled Out
There’s no single test for Crohn’s disease, so your diagnosis will come mainly from ruling out other problems like infection and other gastrointestinal disorders. You’ll probably receive a variety of tests, such as a colonoscopy, biopsy, barium enema, blood tests, stool tests, a CT scan, an MRI, or a set of X-rays called the upper GI series. A combination of tests gives doctors a more accurate picture of your overall GI health.
#2: You’ll Learn How to Prepare for Your Symptoms
Knowing that you have Crohn’s disease will give you the opportunity to better prepare for those times when symptoms strike at inconvenient times. Consider putting together a “Crohn’s Survival Kit” for when you’re out and about with the following items:
- Any prescription medications
- Over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medication
- Toilet paper or moist wipes
- Extra underwear and clothes
- A list of public restrooms or an app on your phone to help you find one
#3: The Emotional Roller Coaster
Unfortunately, at this point in time, there’s no cure for Crohn’s, so treatment is about managing your symptoms. Learning you have a condition that you’ll be dealing with for the long-term is not always easy, and it’s OK to feel upset. You may go through something like the 5 stages of grief, or your path to acceptance may be a little less well-defined.
Either way, take the time to feel what you need to feel. Talk to your doctor about what physical symptoms to expect, and be honest with your friends and family about what you’re going through. Here are some other things you can do to help yourself get more comfortable with your diagnosis:
- Knowledge is Power: Learn about your condition. Find out what triggers your flare-ups (keep a list in the beginning), and keep a journal of your symptoms so you can pinpoint patterns that help you feel better.
- Enlist a Team: Your all-star team should include your doctor, a few close friends and family members, and potentially a therapist. Use this team to help you keep a healthy perspective, a sense of hope, and a sense of humor.
- Find Community: Knowing your not alone is one of the most powerful ways to help accept your diagnosis. Ask your doctor for resources, and look to places like the Crohn’s and Colitis Community, which has both online forums as well as local chapters you can join.